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Jury in murder trial told accused from Northern Ireland is a convicted killer

By Tom Wilkinson

A Northern Ireland man accused of torturing, raping and dumping a Vietnamese woman's body in a burning car has a previous conviction for murdering a pensioner, a court heard yesterday.

William McFall and his co-accused Stephen Unwin deny murdering Quyen Ngoc Nguyen in a depraved crime that Newcastle Crown Court heard was motivated by lust and greed.

The jury has heard the 28-year-old was lured to Unwin's home in Shiney Row, Tyne and Wear, and subjected to a terrifying four-hour ordeal before she was dumped in her burning Audi A4 by some allotments.

A prosecutor said both defendants were previously convicted of murdering pensioners in burglaries in the 1990s and both were sentenced to life, but had been released on licence.

The prosecution outlined McFall's criminal history as part of what the jury was told was "bad character" evidence.

He said McFall, who is 51, murdered 86-year-old Martha Gilmore with a hammer during a break-in in May 1996 at her home in Greenisland.

His victim had mobility problems and disturbed the burglar, so he knocked her to the ground before hitting her with the weapon.

The prosecutor said that McFall later told a probation officer he had killed Mrs Gilmore "due to alcohol, stress and panic when he became aware of her presence".

He admitted murder, was jailed for life in April 1997 at Belfast Crown Court, and released on licence in October 2010.

McFall had previous convictions for violence and firearms offences.

The jury was also told that Unwin (42) had a history of setting fires at the scene of his crimes.

In 1999 he admitted murdering a 73-year-old man in Co Durham on Christmas Day by attacking him with a camera and then stabbing him.

Unwin stole his TV and video recorder and then started three fires in the property, so his victim had to be identified by his dental records.

In 1995 he started five fires in the property of another elderly burglary victim who was rescued by neighbours.

Unwin was jailed for life for murder in October 1999, and was released on licence in December 2012.

The jury has heard how the pair forced Miss Nguyen to give them her PINs and they withdrew a total of £1,000 before and after she was killed.

Miss Nguyen, who was less than 5ft tall, had come to the country in 2010 from Vietnam, the court had heard.

She helped her sister run a nail salon in Gateshead, but there was also a secret element of her life - renting properties for people without the correct immigration documents, and some addresses were used to cultivate cannabis.

McFall, who had lately been living in Blackpool, stayed regularly with Unwin.

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